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Carpenter wins with less than his best

Isotopes pitcher Ryan Carpenter said he didn’t have his best stuff Thursday night against the Sacramento River Cats, but it was plenty good enough to earn the victory. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

Ryan Carpenter matched his season high in hits allowed.

His four strikeouts thrown was his lowest total since April.

And the fact that the Albuquerque Isotopes pitcher still basically shut down the visiting Sacramento River Cats in a 4-3 win in one of his more pedestrian starts of the season probably explains just how good he’s been lately.

“It was kind of one of those nights where I didn’t really have everything working,” Carpenter said Thursday night. “… Something felt a little off.”

The River Cats probably didn’t agree. And neither did Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill.

“I think he did a great job,” Hill said. “He didn’t walk anybody.”

Without his best stuff, Carpenter got the win Thursday and improved his record to 5-6 on the season, allowing three earned runs off 11 hits with four strikeouts and no walks over 52/3 innings of work.

All without throwing his curveball for at least the first three innings.

“It just wasn’t there for me,” Carpenter said. “It wasn’t really working in the pen (in pregame warmups). I really couldn’t get it going all game. It’s something that’s usually there for me. It’s my favorite off-speed pitch.”

It had been a pitch he relied on during a recent hot streak that earned the 26-year-old lefty last week’s Pacific Coast League Player of the Week honor (June 26-July 2).

Isotopes pitching coach Mark Brewer earlier this week said he had recently “challenged” Carpenter to cut down on walks.

Message received.

In 15 starts this season (and 17 total appearances) Carpenter has a 4.77 ERA. More specific to his recent success, he hasn’t walked a hitter in two July starts and on the season has an even 5-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio (100 strikeouts, 20 walks). In his last 10 starts, it’s 5.4-1 (70 strikeouts, 13 walks).

“One of the things that annoys me most is walks,” Carpenter said. “… I just can’t stand walking people.”

Thursday, he threw 108 pitches with 69 strikes (63.9 percent for strikes). Brewer said he wants Carpenter to reach a consistent 65 percent.

Carpenter is in his seventh professional season after being drafted in the seventh round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays out of Gonzaga University (he had also been drafted by the Rays out of Glendale Cactus High School in Arizona in the 21st round of the 2008 MLB Draft before picking college, instead).

This is his fourth season in the Rockies’ organization (signed as a minor league free agent May 7, 2014) and second season with the Isotopes. In 2016, he was 2-3 with a 7.47 ERA, making eight starts and coming out of the bullpen another 18 times.

100 Ks: Hill admitted he was pretty happy Carpenter got to the 100-strikeout plateau Thursday. His career high in Ks was 132 in 2015 with Double-A New Britain.

NOT TALKING: Gerardo Parra, the 30-year-old Rockies outfielder in Albuquerque rehabbing an injured right quadriceps, was 1-for-4 on Thursday night at the plate.

Parra would not talk to media on Thursday after pregame batting practice about his rehab assignment.

It is unclear how long the Rockies will have him in Albuquerque. He was placed on the Rockies’ disabled list June 7 and had been hitting .318 with six home runs and 28 RBIs in the big leagues before the injury.

In three games in Albuquerque, he’s 2-for-10 with three strikeouts and has played left field, right field and first base.